Revisiting From Tomatoes to Friendship: 5 years later

Chapter 6. Representing the title I’ve chosen the book to have.

My dad once told me a story about his father and grandfather. He said that they used to have this gardening competition every year. A way to keep in touch and include each other in life. They argued and fought but that wasn’t the point. The point was the togetherness. They grew all sorts of things but it was the tomatoes that counted to them. Who’s looked the best, tasted the best, who had more of them. Silly things that probably didn’t matter to anyone else but it mattered to them. It’s things like that that make up a family and a life. Little traditions that seem silly but you enjoy despite anyone else.

It wasn’t about who won the tomato competition – that was a game just because they could. It didn’t matter that they argued. They were still family and they were a part of each other’s lives and again that was the point. We are all driven nuts by our families at times, sometimes more than others but they’re still part of us and our lives. Everyone’s family is dysfunctional in it’s own way. We all have our faults and arguments and we are who we are. Dynamics change and shift as we age and families fall apart as some leave this plane. But each and every family has it’s lessons, traditions and memories. Everything about them can teach you something.

Relationships with friends, family, lovers, acquaintances etc, are what you put into them. If you put enough time and effort into friendships those people can become family. Some people you just click with and others you just want to run away from. Family like friends are similar in a sense that you’re closer to some than others and you can avoid them if you want to or you can spend as much time with them as you please. But family has a different connotation when it comes to bonds. You share blood. You share experiences. You share knowledge. History, an ancestry. Traditions. Friends can become family after a certain point and though it can be better it still isn’t the same.

Relationships in our lives have a way of shaping us as well as experiences. Those we have by our side teaching us, guiding us, living it with us have a special place in our hearts and in our memories. Those that sat there and listened while we poured our hearts out over something we thought was a major ordeal at the time. Those that spent some of our happiest moments sharing in the experiences. Those that we were there for that we know we can count on no matter what. Relationships matter. Yes we all have a way of fucking things up but eh it is what it is. Friendships, relationships of any kind grow and change. Some people play a guest star and some people play a recurring role in your life. They can teach you about anything and everything. They are the ones you live up to, can live vicariously though, can resent or relish in the moment with. They are the people we choose to surround ourselves with and those we never forget.

These people don’t always have to be there for the betterment of anything. They could make things worse. They could just be there in general. Who knows. Family and family ties tend to be a little stronger but they also function a little differently. They function with an assumption that you’ll be there on holidays. They come with a clause. It’s not always a bad thing but it’s a little different than some friendships. But when you get to a certain point with a friend – the familial clause also exists. You’re now expected to be a part of that person’s life and hopefully you think that’s a good thing.

Friendship is something everyone needs in life. Your friends help shape your life and they can also help change your life for better or worse. We all start out at some point with friends that we “grew up with.” Those are friends that came in and out of our lives since we have been young children. These are people you can, not talk to for years and then out of nowhere say, “hey remember me?” and then end up talking for hours about “old times.” These are people that as a kid you remember random things from birthday parties or just playing tag in the back yard. If you can keep yourself surrounded by these people, the people you know and trust without question, the people you can count on to have your back, life is good.

Then there are those you gain later in life that you build memories with. These people can slowly become what you call close friends. Now, because you have realized that playtime no longer consists of boys vs. girls tag on the playground or that never ending game of hide and seek, friendship builds to new levels. You are always going to have that one person known as your partner in crime, who has gone through everything with you and you know each other so well that you can just look at each other and know what they’re thinking. Over the years your partner in crime may change but that doesn’t mean you lose the original, it means you’ve gained another. Then there’s the friend that blows you off over and over again, but you keep them around for reasons unbeknownst to you and because you wouldn’t have them be anyone else, but themselves. You have that friend that comes in and out of your life, but is always there if you just need someone to rant and rave to about your latest problem or crisis. That friend that if you wanna go grab a drink and put the day’s events out of your mind they will be happy to go along for the ride. We all think about that friend that we cared about more than as just friends but they’re one that got away. We may not always think of them but deep down somewhere inside you, there’s that last “what if you had done something different” thought that says you could have changed things, but in reality most likely wouldn’t have done so. There are a million types of friends in this world, where do you fit in?

Friends make you who you are as much as events in your life make and shape you. If you don’t have any friends, events that pull you down can be so much worse because there’s no one there to catch you and help pick up the pieces. Friends are people who you come to know and respect but those you can still “break ‘em” on until the end of time because of, “that one thing that happened ten years ago that you still won’t let them forget or live down” still is part of your friendship.

On the other hand people have ways of driving each other insane. Friends come and go in your life and they always will, but those who have your back today might not always be there tomorrow. Your friends are your support system just as much, if not more, than your family is or should be. Friends are the people you surround yourself with. People you tell your deepest darkest secrets to and share your best and worst memories with. They are the people who should know you just as much as you know yourself – for the most part. However, friends only know as much about you as you are willing to tell them. They can only understand as much about you, as you are willing to let them or as much as you understand about yourself at the time. People need each other; there is no doubt about that. We depend on each other to get through the day whether it’s by helping us do our job, helping with everyday chores, helping with kids or pets, being there for us in our best and worst moments, or just relaxing at the end of a long week.

Friendship is hard to come by. Especially true friendship. By true friendship I mean, the people that you know have your back at a second’s notice even if it may cost them something. And I don’t mean heavily cost them, but people you know you can count on. Time has a cost of its own. I’m talking about the friends you can call your family, those you can stand to be around every minute of everyday and still miss them when they’re gone for five minutes. Those you can be parted from for months or years and then the first time you reconvene, your friendship has never changed and it’s as if nothing ever happened. It’s as though even though you may have updated them on random points of your life and the drama and happenings that you deemed most important at the time, these chosen few or many if you’re obscenely lucky, will always be there. They won’t ever seem to let you down. These are the people that are there when you yourself, have little faith in you –yourself.

Friends are necessary for life. It’s the reason why TV shows like Friends, Sex and the City, Seinfeld, the list goes on are such successes. They’re shows that are built around friends living with and around each other. It shows their ups, downs, ins, outs, and needs for one another. People relate to these shows because they are things that may seem outrageous and funny to someone but could in fact be someone else’s life. We all have those moments in life that we can connect with some movie or television show somewhere. Whether it’s because of a break up or a friendship. A family member or an in-law. These shows sell because they’re life at it’s finest and lowest. They prove that people need people. They give you a false sense of making best friends and keeping them but they still prove that we need each other to survive whatever the world throws at us because without them we’re goners.

 

 

 

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Is friendship the newest form of abuse?

I’ve dealt with depression my entire life. I’ve grown up with the thought that I could be anything that I want to be/ if I can dream it I can do it. I’ve been told for most of my life that, “those people aren’t your friends.”The world we live in and life – is damn hard – despite trying to chase your dreams. More people today than not, are considered depressed or suffer from some type of mental or emotional dysfunction. And people today – people are the worst. They’re the worst to each other.

People are so self-righteous and hellbent on beating each other up mentally, emotionally, and physically, to prove their own worth that despite “winning,” we really lose. People don’t have real relationships anymore. Everything is about petty crap and manipulation tactics to force people to see things your way or no way at all. The job market is a buyer’s place and the goods being sold are us. We’re free to the highest bidder because god forbid we actually get paid a decent wage for the work we do. There is no loyalty. There is barely trust. The system is broken and those with the power are sure as hell not going to give any to us.

We rip and tear each other down so that we can feel better ourselves. We fight tooth and nail for that promotion for our own well being and don’t care how we get there. We use each other to get what we want, when we want. We shame people for being who they are, when who they are has absolutely nothing to do with who we are. We cause each other pain because no one is willing to even open their eyes to a new perspective or see things in a different light. We use and abuse each other to no end because we’re so blinded by our own greed and desires that no one else matters until we get everything we want first. And then we end up alone.

How the hell did we get here? We live in a world where you can’t be taken seriously by protesting because those in charge forgot where they came from. Those standing in the places of power are the products of an age where people fought to be treated as people and now we discriminate less because we’re all being treated like shit.

I’ve known and witnessed so many people attempting to take their own lives because they can’t handle something going on in their world. So many suffering from things like depression, anxiety and PTSD, but no one seems to take those seriously. I’ve watched people around them judge them and put them down. I’ve seen them make it the person who’s sufferings fault because they don’t take two seconds to think what happened to this person to push them this far?! Or think, “why do they think and feel that this is their only way?”

People don’t respect anymore. They don’t respect themselves let alone anyone else. We have the most ways to speak to others than ever before and how do we spend most of our time communicating? We trash each other and make fun of and judge and push aside everyone that has ever taken the time to be there for us and why? Why? Seriously why?

Is it fear? Fear of being left? Fear of being betrayed? No one commits to anyone or anything. No one has to. Not knowing someone you spent years getting to know and spending time with isn’t going to walk out on you tomorrow is a real issue. I’ve had friends and loves that hurt me, let’s face it most people do. Yes, that’s part of life and people outgrow each other, but why does it have to become vicious?  Why do we have to attempt to destroy the person we were once friends with?

I recently “broke up” with a friend. I’ve known this person since I was about 10 years old. We lost touch as we grew up but ran into each other at a later date. We have become decently close in the last handful of years until this last one. I had gone through one of the most devastating times in my life and I wasn’t the same. I watched my life and my world as I knew it crash around me. I watched myself become someone I didn’t know. I watched people and friends use things against me just because they could. I was judged in every single way because I was “different” than I was before. That wasn’t okay with these people. These people were supposed to be my friends; the ones there through the hard times. But as soon as the hard times were upon us gone they were.

I’ll admit I was a bit difficult at times. I’m an intense person in general and it is what it is. But like I said, my life as I knew it to be, was over. I dealt with 4 deaths in 3 weeks. A best friend and love lost in one. A life in another state I didn’t want to say goodbye to, but had to leave. And myself becoming a shadow of the person I once knew because I was broken in every way. To this day I’m still trying to pick up the pieces and it’s a little over a year later.

About two weeks ago I had a fight with this friend. They insisted they tried but just couldn’t do it anymore. Now I get it… we all have our own shit, but take responsibility for your actions and words. When you leave someone high and dry and basically tell them you’re not good enough to be my friend anymore what are you supposed to feel?  Then they hang out with everyone you introduced them to and not only tell you that people are talking shit about you behind your back but still can’t acknowledge that maybe they were out of line. All of it is abusive. All of it isn’t okay. From people talking shit behind your back to them making you out to be the asshole and the jerk of the group because you’re not sunshine and rainbows. Not okay. We all make mistakes but after a certain point it just isn’t okay to treat people that way.

Why do we sit here and think that it’s okay to judge those around us on their mistakes and their opinions when their life isn’t the one we’re living? Isn’t the whole point of having friends to have people there for you through the crappy, shitty, end of the world times, as well as the on top of the world, no time better than this, I love my life times? Isn’t the whole point of having friends to not have to go through the hard times even more alone than we have to?

We’re supposed to be on the “right side” of history yet here we sit continually fucking it up. We’ve come a long way but we’re not even a fraction of the way there. Civil rights. Women’s rights. Movements that defined generations fought for equality. We’re now fighting for LGBTQ rights and as much as it may make me a little uncomfortable I’m all for people having the respect and the rights they deserve. Why do we have to hold everything against each other? Why do we have to tear down our so called friends to feel better about ourselves? Why do we have to abuse each other when we’re all screaming for acceptance and understanding and dare I say it -love? What are we all so afraid of when it comes to actually giving people what they have earned or should have a right to?

Why is it okay to be put down and talked about and made out to be the jerk and hated on when all you did was break? Why is it okay to suffer from depression or some other kind of mental ailment or even physical ailment and have it be used against you? We’re all individuals and we’re all different as much as we’re the same. Why do we direct such anger and hatred towards each other when we all are seeking acceptance? Because let’s face it, no one strives to be the outcast. If we spent a fraction of the time actually trying to build each other up instead of beating each other down or even gave people a chance to prove their worth or their skills without projecting an “I knew you’d leave, I knew you’d hurt me, I knew you’d screw this up”attitude, we all might approach things and life a lot differently. If we all showed a little more respect and dignity within ourselves this world would be a far better place.

Why are we afraid to be nice to each other? When does the abusive bullshit end?

There is no life without friendship

Friendship is something everyone needs in life. Your friends help shape your life and they can also help change your life for better or worse. We all start out at some point with friends that we “grew up with.” Those are friends that came in and out of our lives since we have been young children. These are people you can, not talk to for years and then out of nowhere say, “hey remember me?” and then end up talking for hours about “old times.” These are people that as a kid you remember random things from birthday parties or just playing tag in the back yard. If you can keep yourself surrounded by these people, the people you know and trust without question, the people you can count on to have your back, life is good.

Then there are those you gain later in life that you build memories with. These people can slowly become what you call close friends. Now, because you have realized that playtime no longer consists of boys vs. girls tag on the playground or that never ending game of hide and seek, friendship builds to new levels. You are always going to have that one person known as your partner in crime, who has gone through everything with you and you know each other so well that you can just look at each other and know what they’re thinking. Over the years your partner in crime may change but that doesn’t mean you lose the original, it means you’ve gained another. Then there’s the friend that blows you off over and over again, but you keep them around for reasons unbeknownst to you and because you wouldn’t have them be anyone else, but themselves. You have that friend that comes in and out of your life, but is always there if you just need someone to rant and rave to about your latest problem or crisis. That friend that if you wanna go grab a drink and put the day’s events out of your mind they will be happy to go along for the ride. We all think about that friend that we cared about more than as just friends but they’re one that got away. We may not always think of them but deep down somewhere inside you, there’s that last “what if you had done something different” thought that says you could have changed things, but in reality most likely wouldn’t have done so. There are a million types of friends in this world, where do you fit in?

Friends make you who you are as much as events in your life make and shape you. If you don’t have any friends, events that pull you down can be so much worse because there’s no one there to catch you and help pick up the pieces. Friends are people who you come to know and respect but those you can still “break ‘em” on until the end of time because of,  “that one thing that happened ten years ago that you still won’t let them forget or live down” still is part of your friendship.

On the other hand people have ways of driving each other insane. Friends come and go in your life and they always will, but those who have your back today might not always be there tomorrow. Your friends are your support system just as much, if not more, than your family is or should be. Friends are the people you surround yourself with. People you tell your deepest darkest secrets to and share your best and worst memories with. They are the people who should know you just as much as you know yourself – for the most part. However, friends only know as much about you as you are willing to tell them. They can only understand as much about you, as you are willing to let them or as much as you understand about yourself at the time. People need each other; there is no doubt about that. We depend on each other to get through the day whether it’s by helping us do our job, helping with everyday chores, helping with kids or pets, being there for us in our best and worst moments, or just relaxing at the end of a long week.

Friendship is hard to come by. Especially true friendship. By true friendship I mean, the people that you know have your back at a second’s notice even if it may cost them something. And I don’t mean heavily cost them, but people you know you can count on. Time has a cost of its own. I’m talking about the friends you can call your family, those you can stand to be around every minute of everyday and still miss them when they’re gone for five minutes. Those you can be parted from for months or years and then the first time you reconvene, your friendship has never changed and it’s as if nothing ever happened. It’s as though even though you may have updated them on random points of your life and the drama and happenings that you deemed most important at the time, these chosen few or many if you’re obscenely lucky, will always be there. They won’t ever seem to let you down. These are the people that are there when you yourself, have little faith in you –yourself.

Friends are necessary for life. It’s the reason why TV shows like Friends, Sex and the City, Seinfeld, the list goes on are such successes. They’re shows that are built around friends living with and around each other. It shows their ups, downs, ins, outs, and needs for one another. People relate to these shows because they are things that may seem outrageous and funny to someone but could in fact be someone else’s life. We all have those moments in life that we can connect with some movie or television show somewhere. Whether it’s because of a break up or a friendship. A family  member or an in-law. These shows sell because they’re life at it’s finest and lowest. They prove that people need people. They give you a false sense of making best friends and keeping them but they still prove that we need each other to survive whatever the world throws at us because without them we’re goners.